Florida Springs Bike Tour Supplies Video

Super quick...

I just posted up a short video of some of the supplies we took with us on our Florida Springs 7 day bike tour. Yes, that's a bicycle tour, not a motorcycle tour. Sorry!

It doesn't look like much. And yet, the entire back end of the car was PACKED. What isn't included in the video is the tandem bike we also brought. However, that is all of the supplies we brought for the trip all stacked up outside the car.
  • 3 bikes
  • 1 tent
  • 4 sleeping bags
  • 2 sets of rear panniers
  • 1 Bell bicycle trailer for hauling kids (Since this trip, I tenderly refer to the trailer as a Sherpa - it is as valuable for a bike trip as Sherpas are for climbing Mt. Everest)
  • 4 bike helmets
  • 4 sets of bike gloves (DO NOT go cheap on these)
  • 2 sets of clothing for each of us (DO NOT go cheap on the bike shorts - or your butt will HATE you)
  • And a whole stash of miscellaneous other stuff like cook stove, white gas, flashlight, money, extra underwear for the kids, food, etc.

In general, you should plan to pack as lightly as possible for traveling by bike. However, I was totally shocked at how effective and easy it was to haul around that trailer. I have no idea what it weighed, but I could thrown just about anything in that trailer and drug it along behind me. If you do a tour with kids, I must highly suggest using a trailer for hauling around supplies. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I'll be glad to offer my thoughts.

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Great write up on Steak n Shake Knoxville

Check out the great write up on my amigo - Gary, and his Steak n Shake stores in Knoxville, TN.
While we don't venture up into his neck of the woods too often, we did spend some time with Gary a couple of years ago, and we ate at his Steak n Shake Turkey Creek location.
Being in Knoxville, he is right in the foothills of the Smoky Mountain National Park. That is exactly why we ended up in his backyard (see more from the Speer family's Smoky Mountain visit)
If you ever find yourself stopping into one of the most heavily visited free National Parks in America, you might check out one of Gary's restaurants in Knoxville. And, yeah, you can probably tell him I suggested you stop in.
But... I gotta warn you.
The last time I visited, he put me to work cutting up tomatoes... so I'm not sure if knowing me will help you out.

Nice one Gary!

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365 Miles of Florida Springs

Chris and I were talking last night about all the bicycle commuting I've done throughout the years. Even before we were married, I used to ride to work. It's been through so many varied conditions.
  • rain
  • pitch-darkness
  • freezing weather
  • 100 degree heat
  • fog
In general, I try to avoid extremes like lightning, hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc. And that has worked well.

Recently, though, I was able to accomplish one of my lifelong goals ... a multi-day bicycle tour. My ultimate dream has always been to bike across America. And although this trip didn't accomplish that goal, it is a definite step in the right direction. Most importantly, this shorter bike trip let me know that my original idea is absolutely possible. Which is a great thing to know!


Chris and the girls decided to humor me, and agreed to a 7 day bicycle tour. We'll be sharing a whole lot more about our trip, but I wanted to share some info about our time on the road.

First of all, here was the area we cycled around for the week. The best way to describe it... a HUGE circle around Gainesville, Florida. I think we missed every single large community in the entire area. I never realized there were so many small towns in Florida without decent sized grocery stores.
Map provided by

Map provided by Florida State Parks

We ended up grinding out about 365 miles total. That was with very little training and preparation. Although the maximum elevation of 350 feet certainly helped make this task easier. Our main goal of the tour was to explore the 'Florida Springs'. Our focus was based on the tour laid out on GORP's Florida Springs Bike Tour.

The map above is a general route that we took. It is not exact, but close to it and does not show some of the side trips that we took. We biked all of the 'red' marked areas. And we rented a vehicle to shorten the trip by bike (aka - saving the sanity of our children) and cut off about another 80-90 miles from the trip.

Of course, we took dozens of pictures and we'll throw a bunch of those up soon. I just wanted to share a bit with you right away.

One thing real quick - the girls did amazingly well. And they were SO strong. It was a real delight to see Kaitlyn push through some of the physical demands we threw at her. She did AWESOME! And Keeley was great, pushing me from behind on the tandem. She gave me the 'go' juice to push up some of the steeper hills we encountered.

Talk soon!
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More Pictures of the Endless Summer Watermelon Ride in St. Augustine

This one took me a while to put up, but I finally got a chance to add a little bit more about the St. Augustine Cycling Festival 20th annual Endless Summer Watermelon Ride.

They had routes that passed thru St. Augustine. It is one of the most amazing historic towns, America's oldest continuously occupied city.
Some of the special sponsors were:
  • SERF motorcycle escorts
  • Champion Cycling
  • About Bicycles
  • Lakeshore Cycling
  • Open Road Bicycles
  • Donovan Heat and Air
  • Bicycles Etc.
  • City Cycle
  • BikeFitters
You can visit the NFBC website for more details about the ESWR and the Cycling Festival.

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Two Cool Things that Happened this week

While neither of these events are particularly life-changing, I thought they were pretty cool. So I thought I would share.

Lance Armstrong corneringImage by eugene via FlickrFirst of all, life in the office has been insane for the last couple of weeks. So crazy, in fact, that I had the pleasure of taking off early one day. While I was riding home, this kid leans out the window of his car as they drive by me... and he yells... "Hey, Lance Armstrong!"

Of course, I didn't want to disappoint him, so I nodded my head and gave him a quick wave. I'm sure he probably figured out later, that I was not Lance. However, the comparison, as I was actually riding, was a GREAT compliment to me. So... I have to say, Thanks for calling me Lance.

I have begun writing articles on a more consistent basis. I was attempting to write one article a day for 25 days. Starting on September 27th, I have published 16 live articles on a website called ezine articles. That website is one of the top 115 websites in the world, so it gets a lot of visitors, and some great interest from readers.

I was surprised to receive this in the mail this week, after publishing a few of my articles.
I have reached the platinum level author status at ezine articles. While it is not a big deal, it was still pretty cool to get this gift pack from them in the mail. WOW! Thanks to ezine articles for a great platform to publish on, and for recognizing your authors for their input and importance.

And if you want to check out the articles I've been writing, you can take a look here:
Kelson Spear
Some of you may know, I've been a part of this topic for a while.


Watermelon Ride in St. Augustine, FL 2010

Not too long ago, we all ventured up to St. Augustine for the weekend. They were having a big cycling event and a bike ride. I was hoping for some great classes, vendors, and just maybe some great deals on some bike touring gear.

As part of the weekend, the Boy Scouts put on the Watermelon Ride that started at the St. Augustine amphi-theater. I had to drag myself out of be at 7:00 to get there for the start of the ride. But I did it.

Here is the opening parade of cyclists as they left the starting area. I can tell you the entire parking lot was PACKED with cars. There was barely walking room. I don't know many people showed up for the ride, but it seemed like several hundred cruised past me in this video.

I also grabbed some pictures out by Highway 95, in Elkton, FL as the riders sped by our hotel. I'll probably put a few pics up a little later.

If I got a shot of you, let me know and I'll add your name to the list.